BLU exhibits talent

Kaya+OConnor+at+the+microphone

Holden Green

Kaya O’Connor at the microphone

Calvin Roe, Staffer

On a Friday night without a home football game, students, parents, and faculty members still flooded on to campus. The auditorium, filled with chatter and excitement, darkened as hosts Nailah Baker and Amaya Garth began the 2019 Annual Talent Show presented by Black Leaders’ Union.

Black Leaders Union, commonly referred to as BLU, is comprised of only black students, but the talent show is inclusive of all races. Tia Campbell, one of the sponsors of BLU, says students of “all backgrounds,” part of the club or not, have the opportunity to perform.

Unlike most talent shows, the contestants were scored by the audience’s applause, the only judge being Campbell who broke any “ties” between applauses. After the first and second act, six performers were cheered on to the next round of elimination. Then the pool was cut down to three before choosing the final champion.

One of the black students that performed was junior Deon Badejo, who sang for his second time in the talent show. “When I was a freshman, Ms. Campbell told me about it and told me to audition,” says Badejo. This year, Badejo sang his original piece called “State of Mind”, which gave insight on depression.

“I was in a place where I felt depressed,” explains Badejo. “It’s based off of how not only I, but others were feeling.”

To end the first act, teachers Tia Campbell, John Costopoulos, and Bradley Springer stole the show by their rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. Costopoulos and Springer provided the guitar instrumental while the crowd joined Campbell in her chorus.

Freshman Morgan Reckamp, who is part of treble choir, vocal jazz, and the “six chicks” acapella group at OPRF, also performed that night. Reckamp sang “Listen”, which earned her a spot in the final three.

“I wasn’t really thinking about the winning aspect, I just wanted to perform and sing my song,” says Reckamp, reflecting on the night, “I didn’t expect an applause like that to happen.”

Not only is Reckamp a freshman, but she’s also making the change from public to private school. “The school was this amount of people (at OPRF) divided by 10. I came here knowing 10-12 people,” she says.

This served as a major disadvantage, considering the winner was decided by audience applause. However, Reckamp still managed to be one of the three remaining contestants, awaiting one last round of applause to determine the victor.

“It was especially nerve-wracking when it was just me, Deon, and Nicholas (other finalist),” says Reckamp, “our applauses sounded exactly the same.” Nevertheless, Campbell broke the tie and picked Reckamp, being crowned as champion out of the 11 contestants.

Despite the competition aspect of the talent show, the importance of BLU’s work must not go overlooked. BLU’s platform allows students like Deon Badejo to have a voice, despite being excluded from other opportunities. “There’s a lot of closed doors on us,” he explains, “but BLU’s platform gives us colored people an opportunity to show what we’re made of.”

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